Aug 29, 2013

Slumbrew Flower Envy Saison

I recently picked up this bottle of Slumbrew’s Flower Envy and their Trekker Tripel at Total Wine in Sterling, VA (which I visit at least once a week) a few weeks ago. Now, I’ve gotten products from this brewery from the exact same store before without issue, but this time around, I think that had I paid more attention to what I was buying, I probably would have passed on buying these two beers.

Let me start by saying that there are very few saisons that should be aged. I can only think of a couple that manage to hold themselves together well enough to invest time and cellar space in them. Saison Dupont does pretty well after 2-3 years, but beyond that, it starts to break down. Well, had I been more observant in my selection, I would have passed on this particular Flower Envy that was bottled in September of last year (see photo below), but just popped up on shelves here within the last week.

Slumbrew bottling date photo

I’m not sure if the brewery intentionally held onto it for this period of time, or if the distributor forgot about it in some warehouse, or if Total Wine had found a box of it in a back corner. All I do know is that it didn’t age well. The beer wasn’t bad, mind you, but you could certainly tell that the typical saison characteristics had already started to fade. Instead of being crisp, light and funky, this bottle of Flower Envy drank more like a weak Belgian Pale. It even exhibited more tripel-like traits than those found in your run-of-the-mill saison.


As you can see below, the beer pours quite nicely with a large, tawny stack of foam.

Flower Envy photo


The beer smells herbaceous and floral with a light touch of distant barnyard, hay and subtle spices. It smells like an older saison that’s for sure or even a weak tripel.


The malt character is much stronger in the flavor with a bready character. Light grain, peppery yeast and light fruits are all present, but there’s not much of farmhouse/saison presence. There’s an old hop presence late that lingers in this finish. Overall, it doesn’t taste bad. It’s just got a flavor that tells me it’s been sitting around for a bit.


So, I don’t know if this is a lesson in being more observant when I purchase beer — not to get too giddy over new products — or if this is a testament to what we may see more of as distributors and shops attempt to juggle more and more inventory from the growing number of craft breweries. I guess, I’ll just have to keep an eye out for a fresh bottle of Flower Envy in future trips so that I can compare it to my experience with this year-old offering.

Rating: 3/5

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